12/16/2004

The Colors (archives)

Part of what I want to do with this blog is from time to time post some things I have written in the past and simply sat on. You'll know each of these by the "(archives)" in the title, and by the short italicized explanation up front.

This blog is all about self-indulgence. So enjoy, or not.

(Hoo boy, this clip dates back to August 1999, but the original idea is from the early 90s. Nathan (whom the character in the clip below is named after), had a very interesting series of dreams which he described to a few friends. It was an epic fantasy involving multiple dimensions, an ages long game among the gods causing war among several mortal clans who are identified by a stripe of color that looks like a tattoed feather or flame runnning down one side of their face. Each color has several magical powers ascribed to them. Nathan's epic dream began in our world, when the war spills into our dimension, and inadvertantly awakens a cthonic inter-dimensional power who decides to insert himself into the game by creating a new color. He and his friends are chosen as the early players of the game, must struggle to survive while learning about this war/game, then use their new found powers to try and win. Purple are the main clan of enemies, Red are Purple's pawn and have much destructive power, and Yellow was the new clan, whose power turned out to be the ability to adopt and adapt the powers of other colors. The "mutants" mentioned are a separate story line that appeared in Nathan's dream, who allied themselves with Yellow and were eventually made members of the clan. Each color has two "Avatars" who are the leaders of that clan and have the ability to bring a willing person into the clan (at which time the color stripe appears on the person's face). The following is the only scene I ever wrote about this, and is clearly much further into the story. I also know the perfect reference quote with which to begin the novel, should it ever be written...)

“For this strange beam of ghastly miasma was to him no unfamiliar hue. He had seen that colour before, and feared to think what it might mean.” The Colour Out of Space, H.P. Lovecraft


It looked like the end of the world. Bright sparks of magic showered the thousands of combatants, providing a constant and multicolor illumination to the battlefield; purple, green, blue, yellow and red.

Red seemed to predominate. The mutants like fire and the destructive capabilities of the Red power, Nathan thought as he surveyed the scene from a location on top of a fractured shell of a building.. Good for now, but they must always remember their allegiance to Yellow. The lines that have separated our people must continually be blurred.

The Avatar continues to watch and scheme. At this point in the battle, there is little hope to organize quickly for any concerted attack. Things have degraded to a loosely organized battle royale, with small skirmishes and even one-on-one duels occurring between the more powerful mages. He can communicate with a few Yellow leaders on the field, using a primitive telepathy which he and fellow Yellow Avatar had only recently discovered.

He locates James instinctively in the tumult, striding almost casually but cutting a huge swath of pure Yellow magic across the plain. They were to take turns between combat and oversight, but James chose battle first and has refused to switch since the beginning. Nathan wished to join the fight, but understood and agreed with James on this. Although equally effective in combat, Nathan had a definite edge on James when it came to war, as James had on Nathan when it came to politics. They knew their roles, and played them without envy or pride.

James with his potent Yellow magic serves several purposes on the battlefield. First, it completely neutralizes any enemy magic in its wake. Even a Purple mage of the first order can not bend reality in the presence of the Yellow Avatar. Second, his pure magic amplifies the magic of any Yellow clansman around him, even when the clansmen work in another color. Thus the Mutant’s fire and brimstone burn almost white hot and extend beyond their normal reach when bathed in the Avatar’s aura.

Finally, he is an Avatar and a symbol of courage to his clansman. The mere sight of him urges them forward and can only discourage the other color-clans, whose Avatars rarely enter any fray except when the outcome is already determined.

The battle goes like this: Yellow is slowly pushing Purple and its allies into a corner, up against the lake and the river, boxing them in. The Mutants, in their frenzy, continued to press and press, slowly sealing off the enemies last routes of escape. Death Ground.

Yes, James. Nathan responded. I see it too. I am going to tell our western flank to ease off and give them an escape. I think this leads to other possibilities as well.

Agreed. I suppose you’ll want Sunshine to break off and prepare for…

Communication broke off. Nathan could see that several purple mages had formed a tight wedge, trying to amplify their power to break James’ aura. The initial blow knocks James back, but he recovers quickly enough and turns to face his aggressors. He looks a little pissed.

Trusting that James has things well in hand, Nathan tries to reposition his forces. All Captains and Yellow adepts, open a path along the river for Purple’s escape. We will set an ambush. Returning his next message to a more select audience, he broadcast… Sunshine clansmen, meet by the old brick smokestacks and prepare a surprise for the fleeing enemy.

Nathan and James had spent months individually selecting and training the members of Sunshine. The elite clansmen- warriors and mages each, each of their powers focused and specialized to combine in ways previously unimaginable. The color magics had worked side-by-side before, but never combined. The colors are a palette, with plenty of space for mixture. This was a thought that only the Yellow clan could have.

The battle turned slowly, as the path along the river opened. Purple was emboldened by band of heroes who challenged the Yellow Avatar, and Nathan could see that a moment to encourage their retreat had passed.

Nathan. Sunshine. Good. The response came from Karl. While the Avatars could communicate fluently, and could broadcast to most Yellow adepts, only a few Yellow clansmen had picked up the ability to reply so far. Karl was one of them. Sunshine was in place. The light that pierces the darkness.

Hold Sunshine. On our next wave, they should break.

Yellow adepts, sound the attack. Focus and squeeze them against the water’s edge. They will break. Nathan broadcast a more subtle thought immediately after, one of bloodlust and victory that did not require words. It could be received by all Yellow clansmen, for it was raw emotion.

The effect was immediate and certain. The Mutants were especially fearsome, running almost blindly toward the purple troops and mages, who dropped their swords and staves and turned to run away. Hitting the river the Purple combatants grew very frightened, Nathan could feel it. Some saw a path of escape to the South and the wave broke. Purple was routed.

If they hadn’t had an escape, Nathan thought, they would have turned and fought like wild animals. We would have been in trouble.

Chase them, brothers. But do not catch them. The trap is set.

Nathan notices a pocket of stationary Purple remained on the original battlefield. James was still locked in battle with the large wedge of Purple mages. Nearly one hundred of them, Nathan estimates. Perhaps if we had switched off like we originally planned, the one of us in that position would have been fresh enough to wipe them all out easily.

Nathan leaps from the roof of the building, almost a mile away from where James fends off the horde. Assuming a purple tone, Nathan angles gravity to let him fall towards his friend. Yellow clansmen cheer and fleeing Purple mages wonder as the Yellow Avatar flies across the night sky in a bolt of yellow magic tinged with purple.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are fearlessly nuts. I admire that.

"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die."

12:56 PM, December 16, 2004  
Blogger B.V. said...

I'm sure what you may admire more, the fearlessness, or the nuts. Either way, thanks.

3:38 PM, December 16, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oy. I almost cried when I read this.

I can still remember those dreams, in snippets, still have one from time to time, bubbling up like an incompletely digested meal.

Noelle Thomas, sitting next to me in a yellow cab, yellow like the color of the God who follows the breach to find a world of people, people who could think.

Karl, a sly grin on his face, fire belching from his hands while he wore a red feather tattoo.

The mutants, disfigured and forgotten, nearly indestructible, finding redemption in the arms of Jesus Christ the Mutant, savior to all.

There's a dream I can't shake, the one where you and I go to the Purple homeworld and find the temple of the High Priests. Disguised, we wandered the temple, hobnobbing, slowly learning the mores and culture of a people much like our own, skimming their thoughts almost casually. We were found out when one of the ceremonies involved eating Purple food, prepared in some way to be poisonous to the wrong clan. We ended up fencing our way backwards up a set of steps, but the set of steps ended in midair. They were symbolic, built to represent the prophecy - fulfilled by the opening of the portal to our world - that said "A stairway to nowhere will oneday lead to another world."

We fenced, with epees, to the top of this set of steps and then vanished, opening our own temporary rift and awakening our God, if only for a moment.

I feel so sad, seeing him: a huge, glowing orb, not realizing he was lonely until he knew that other things existed, alone in his universe, living for the hope that he will not always have to be alone.

I cower in fear while you stand and stare, open mouthed, at his Glory. Then we pop back into existence in Bloomington, Indiana and have to fight our way across Indiana and Ohio to get to Cleveland, where our forces are.

Very vivid.

Somewhere, I have these dreams written down...probably in an old journal in an attic, unfinished, incoherent, nearly forgotten.

-Nathan

9:42 PM, December 16, 2004  

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